Students from the following schools have qualified to be
April 5, 2016 program
Loomis Chaffee High School
Good luck to all!
Here are some basic
rules/procedures of the game
Who Wants to
Be a Mathematician.
We will play two games of
Who Wants to
Be a Mathematician
with seven contestants in each game. All questions
are multiple choice and are projected on a big screen. Contestants
signal in with remote control devices. Their answers are recorded on
computer, but are not revealed. Any or all contestants can get the
question right and receive points for the question—it does not
matter who answers first. Points are
deducted for incorrect
answers (thus, there is no penalty for guessing). Each question has
a time limit, which is also displayed on the screen. The timer
counts down from this time limit to zero. CONTESTANTS MUST SIGNAL IN
BEFORE THE TIME COUNTER GETS TO ZERO, OTHERWISE THEIR ANSWERS WILL
NOT BE RECORDED. (We advise contestants to signal in before the
timer gets to five seconds, just to be sure that their answers are
A display onscreen indicates that a contestant's
response has been recorded (but not what that selection is).
Contestants can change their response and signal in their choice
with the remote at any time before time is up. (The screen also
indicates that a change in response has been made.)
We test the signaling devices the day of the game,
but if a contestant's signaling device is not working, he or she
should hit his or her buzzer to let the emcee (Mike) and judge (Bill
Butterworth) know that the device is not working. Bill will stop the
clock and we will either fix the signaling device or replace it.
If a question is unclear, or if a contestant has a
question, he or she should feel free to ask Mike for clarification.
Bill will stop the clock and Mike will do his best to answer the
This is similar to "Phone a Friend" in the
TV game Who Wants
To Be A Millionaire.
Each contestant must have a contestant helper with him or her at the
The helper must be either a teacher from the
school or a high school student (from any school). The
helper can help the contestant on one question per
game and may not use a calculator or book, or talk to anyone else
during that question.
Once the question is on the screen, contestants
elect to get Help by using their buzzer. At most one contestant can
use the Help on a given question. Should more than one contestant
want to use the Help on a question, the contestant who hits his or
her buzzer first will be the one allowed to use the Help on that
To make sure that the question timer does not run
out, a contestant should hit his or her Help buzzer with no less
than five seconds left on a question. We also advise contestants
using the Help to signal in an answer themselves, before using the
Help, just in case a helper violates the rules (in which case the
Help is forfeited and the contestant cannot enter or change an
Once the timer gets to about five seconds left on
the question, before the contestant actually uses the Help, Bill
will stop the clock and Mike will ask the contestants who are not
using the Help to put their remotes down, so that they do not signal
in and change their answers (and thus be affected by the Help
discussion). This is when the contestant will use his or her Help.
During the Help, a contestant and helper have 30
seconds to discuss the question. Bill will ring a bell at 20 seconds
to let the contestant and helper know that they have 10 more
seconds. When time is up (for the Help), Bill will ring the bell
several times. Then the contestant will signal in his or her final
answer, and we will resume the timer countdown.
The Help can be used only during the game on
questions 1-8. It cannot be used in Tie-breakers, the Square-Off
Round, or the Bonus Round.
If there is a tie for first, we will break
the tie with a tie-breaking question. The
first person to answer a tie-breaking question
correctly wins the game (and the
first-place money and prize) and advances to the Square-Off Round.
(So for tie-breaking questions, being correct first does matter.)
Tie-breakers are similar to the Square-Off Round (below).
If there is a tie for a place other than
first, then the tied contestants can talk it over and see if one
prefers one prize and another prefers a different prize (e.g., if
two are tied for second, one might want the second-place prize and
one the third-place prize). If that is the case, then the tie is
resolved. If they both prefer the same prize, then we will have a
tie-breaking question after the Bonus Round for those tied
The winners of each game win $500 and a TI-Nspire
CX graphing calculator, and will play against each other on one
question, the Square-Off question. The
first person to answer the Square-Off question correctly
wins the Square-Off Round, an additional $500,
and advances to the Bonus Round (see below). (So for this question,
being correct first does matter.)
Mike will read the question. Once the
question and choices are revealed on the screen, the contestants can
signal in by hitting their buzzer. That is, they do not have to wait
for Mike to read everything on the screen. Once a contestant hits
his or her buzzer, Mike will ask that contestant for his or her
answer. The contestant must answer
immediately with the letter of his or
her choice. If the contestant is correct, he or she wins an
additional $500 and advances to the Bonus Round. If incorrect or if
the contestant does not answer immediately, the question is then
available to the other contestant. He or she must answer within one
minute. If his or her answer is correct, then he or she advances to
the Bonus Round. If incorrect, then the question is opened up to
both contestants again and we proceed as above (except with two
choices eliminated). We will have an odd number of choices. We will
continue like that until either the question is answered correctly
or there are two or fewer choices left. If no one gets the question
correct before then, then we will go to another Square-Off question.
Contestants may not use the Help in the Square-Off Round.
The contestant who wins the Square-Off Round gets
the chance to answer a multiple choice bonus question worth $2000
(and so can win a total of $3000). The contestant may not use the
Help during the Bonus Round. He or she signals in with the remote,
as in the regular game (that is, not with the buzzers used in the
Square-Off Round or in any tie-breakers).
The TI-Nspire graphing calculators are awarded the
day of the game. The other prizes (Maplesoft software, a calculus
book from John Wiley and Sons, books from the AMS, and from WCSU)
and any cash won (in the Bonus and Square-Off Rounds) are mailed to
the contestants after the game by the appropriate sponsor. Prizes
and cash from the AMS usually take about two weeks to get to the
winners. The other prizes usually arrive about a month after the
The most important thing:
History of the game:
game began in 2001 and has been held at universities and science
centers from Boston to Hawaii. In the contest’s history, nearly 600
students nationwide have won over $400,000 in cash and prizes and
have been cheered on by nearly 30,000 classmates. This is the first
time the contest is held in Connecticut and here at WCSU.
To help your high school students prepare, AMS has made available:
I) Past qualifying tests and answers for the national game
-- Please note that qualifying tests for regional games, like
the one we will host at WCSU, are the same level of difficulty as
the Round One tests from 2014 on.
II) Past questions of one national and one regional actual games.
-- The answers to the one regional game are also included.
You can obtain (I) and (II) above from the AMS website
by one) or all documents together
You may also see questions from previous contests on AMS’s video
well as highlights
of past performances http://www.ams.org/programs/students/wwtbam/archive-index and
Disclaimer from AMS's website: "Keep in mind
that Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is an established television
show, which means the name and game are trademarks and copyrighted.
The adaptation that the AMS presents, Who Wants to Be a
Mathematician, has been developed as a non-profit outreach program
for talented high school students. Teachers and others may use the
sample questions and format for their own teaching purposes only and
may not distribute or profit from this game in any way."